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Three takeaways from the Houston Dash & NC Courage

Mexico v United States Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It’s been 72 hours since the Houston Dash were defeated in disappointing fashion by the defending NWSL champion North Carolina Courage. The loss continues to sting as it was a glaring opportunity for the Dash to show a good measure of improvement and make teams sit up and take notice of the Texas club. Instead, they showed they are not yet ready to play with the top clubs in the NWSL. Here are three takeaways from the game.

  1. The Houston Dash backline is still a work in progress. It seems no matter what the combination is, the final line of defense cannot clear the ball to save their lives. The Courage had eight of nine shots from inside the box and that was just in the first 45 minutes of play. All eight shots were considered on target. Saturday’s loss to the defending NWSL champion North Carolina Courage was indicative of how much work is needed along the back. The team’s failure to protect the backside was exploited time and again none more obvious then NC’s final goal of the game.
  2. The Houston Dash are prepared to play counter offensive soccer. Counters are not a strategy to produce wins especially when you are unable to finish on the other end. This strategy produced just four shots on target through the entire match compared to to 13 by NCC. The offense was further thwarted by 6 offside calls against them most of which were questionable at best. One goal per game will not win many games. The Dash must become offensive minded or Sunday’s result of playing in the defensive third for much of a match will become an all too dismal repeating reality.
  3. Jane Campbell is a beast. Campbell’s performance was the reason the score was simply lopsided and not a double digit blowout. After Satara Murray allowed a defender to get around her on the end line and then compounded the matter by dragging down McDonald, Campbell came up with another penalty kick save. It was her fifth against nine tries since she entered the league in April of 2017. In her 42nd consecutive start, the keeper was called upon to make nine saves. Only Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC) and Ashlyn Harris (Orlando) have been called on to do more for their clubs.

There is no doubt defense wins championships and offenses come through on the money. If the Houston Dash are to live up to expectations they are going to have to improve on both ends of the pitch.